10/17/2011 10:00 PM ET|
6 tips to make your nest egg last
Retirement funds need to last a lifetime, which means more than just investing wisely. Certain steps can help maximize the amount of money you'll have when the paychecks stop.
One of the worst situations to be in during retirement is running out of the money you've set aside for your golden years. Making your retirement fund last should be one of your top retirement-planning priorities.
So we are left to deal with market volatility and must trust that we will be rewarded for taking on additional, age-appropriate risk. Our investment portfolios must also be dynamic. We will need to adjust to a constantly changing financial picture in retirement.
Here are six things you can do to give your retirement funds a much better chance at lasting throughout your lifetime. (Are you saving enough for retirement? Get an idea with MSN Money's calculator.)
Take less out after a bad year. This sounds obvious and simple, but it's not always easy to do. You have to be willing to make temporary sacrifices so your investments have a chance to recover in value. You also need to avoid making hasty and emotional decisions when you can least afford to do so. Decide ahead of time whether you will give up inflation adjustments after a bad year, or flat-out reduce the percentage of your assets that you will withdraw.
Take more from the best-performing assets. You will likely hold a diversified range of assets in retirement. It is likely that some of what you own will perform well in certain years, while other investments will do better in other years. One way to help make your retirement assets last is to withdraw what you need from the assets that are performing well. This way, you are naturally selling high.
Have a plan. With the exception of cutting withdrawal rates in years when your investments perform poorly, don't otherwise overreact to stock market swings. Some people get out of the markets at the worst possible time. And during retirement, you are the most vulnerable because your assets are at their highest point and your income is at its lowest. A well-thought-out retirement plan can help keep you calm so you don't act irrationally in times of short-term crisis. Create a plan ahead of time so you can go back to read it and realize that the recent market downturn has already been taken into account.
Develop an income stream. With the help of the Internet, many people are making side incomes working from home. This is perfect for people who are retired because they don't have to commute. Also, no one will know how old you are, so there is no opportunity for age discrimination.
Climb the corporate ladder now. Work hard and do what you can to advance your career. Not only will you have more money to save, but both you and your employer will also pay more Social Security taxes on your behalf, boosting your future Social Security checks.
Check out annuities. It's hard to recommend annuities based on projected returns. But there's a certain amount of security that comes with knowing that you will get a check every month no matter what happens. Having Social Security and an annuity that covers a significant portion of your living expenses will free you from having to worry about stock market volatility in retirement. And that can be worth much more than striving to maximize your investment returns.
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